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East County Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021 6 months ago

Expansion at Nate's Honor in Lakewood Ranch nears completion

Nate's Honor Animal Rescue of Lakewood Ranch completes construction on intake building and training center.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Karissa Mayer, a veterinary technician at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, drew blood from six puppies who were being fostered. 

In the past, Mayer would have to send the blood to veterinary clinics to have it tested and wait at least 24 hours for results.

Now, Mayer has the ability to do her own blood tests in Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue’s new intake facility, which is a part of the nonprofit’s expansion. 

“Having a facility that reflects the level of care we provide is so important,” Mayer said. “I’m looking forward to having all the medical resources we need in one space. When you have sick puppies coming in, those hours can make a difference.”

Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue completed its approximately 5,000-square-foot intake building in October. The intake building has an area for animals to be vaccinated and tested before being groomed. The building also has 42 kennels so dogs can be isolated. A cat isolation area will temporarily become a surgical suite so the nonprofit can do surgeries in house. The intake building also has a food pantry, kitchen and laundry.

The 4,300-square-foot training facility also has been completed, aside from a few final details such as rubber flooring in the main training room that will be completed in January.

“Down the road when everything’s open and somebody adopts from us, they can bring a dog back for a free training session so everyone gets started on the right page,” said Rob Oglesby, the development director for Nate's Honor Animal Rescue. “Everything we’re adding to our programs is to help the community retain its animals and keep them out of the shelters.”

Oglesby expects the entire expansion project, including the 23,000 square foot welcome and adoption center, to be complete in June or July. The fundraising goal for the project is $10 million and the rescue has raised $7.5 million of that amount.

Outside the main training room is an observation room where family members who can’t be with the dog in training at the same time can still watch.

The training facility also has a puppy training room and office space. The rooms can be used to hold events. Another room is set up like a home with a sofa, TV and kitchen so volunteers can spend time with the dogs in a home setting to help the dogs adjust.

Until the welcome center is complete, animal adoptions are taking place in the training facility.

Other work continues as well. Oglesby said the eight new animal cottages are expected to be finished by January.

By the time the expansion is complete, Nate’s Honor will have 17 animal cottages to house at least 120 dogs compared to its previous 10 cottages.

The nonprofit’s staff will move into the training facility in January, allowing it to get rid of the trailers they’ve been working out of since the expansion project began last year. 

“It’s going to be nice to get rid of those trailers,” Oglesby said. “That’s the final piece of old. That’s going to be the huge turning point where everything is gone and we’re starting to put everything back together.”

Nate’s Honor is working from the back of the property to the front, working on shaded areas for dogs to run, a bone-shaped doggie pool, a meet-and-greet pavilion and children’s playground.

Karissa Mayer, a veterinary technician at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, gives a vaccination to a puppy.

Construction continues on the 23,000-square-foot welcome center that will include a veterinary clinic, parvo and maternity ward, cat rooms, education and community center as well as Crisp Waffle, which is a waffle cafe, and an ice cream shop.

The welcome center also will have a two-bedroom apartment upstairs for a staff member, and also can be utilized by students who are doing a veterinary externship. 

Throughout construction, Oglesby said the nonprofit has struggled with supply and construction issues. For example, it took 18 weeks for the nonprofit to receive door jams. 

The property is filled with piles of lumber, fencing and other materials the nonprofit purchased ahead of time so it wouldn’t have to wait months for supplies. 

“We’ve lived through a lot of dirt and dust, but it’s well worth it to save lives and it’s well worth what we’re going to have,” Oglesby said.

Rob and Dari Oglesby are excited to have the intake building and training center complete at Nate's Honor Animal Rescue.


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